The trainer hasn't been seen in public since February 2014.

By Faith Brar
March 07, 2017

During the third episode of the new podcast, Missing Richard Simmons, the fitness guru's longtime friend, Mauro Oliveira claimed that the 68-year-old is being held hostage by his housekeeper, Teresa Reveles. Simmons' rep, Tom Estey, has since responded to the accusations by telling PEOPLE that they are a "complete load of crap."

During the podcast, Oliveria, who is also Simmons' former masseuse, recalls an incident that describes the workout mogul as "very weakly, physically and mentally."

"He was trembling," he continued. "He said 'Mauro. I called you here because we cannot see each other anymore. I'm just going to stay here.' I thought of the worst. I thought the worst was going to happen. I thought he was suicidal."

Oliveira says that the interaction was so concerning that he tried convincing Simmons to go upstairs so they could talk in private, but the housekeeper made it impossible.

"She realized that I was in the house, she started screaming like a witch, 'No no no no, get out, get out! I don't want him here!'," Oliveira said. "Richard looked at me and said, 'You got to go.' I said, 'Really? Is she controlling your life now?' and he said yes. And that I have to leave." That was the last time Oliveria saw Simmons, which was in May 2014.

Estey, on the other hand, claims that these accusations are bizarre and absolutely false.

"Teresa has been working with him for, since I've been working with him (which is 27 years)," he told PEOPLE. "So, holding him hostage is the biggest, I mean...Teresa is the housekeeper, she's the caretaker, she is extraordinary, she is amazing, she takes impeccable care of Richard and she has for as long as I have been working with Richard, so that is a complete load of crap."

He continued by adding that: "Richard made a choice. To live a more private life. If he decides to come back, he'll come back. People claim that it happened overnight. It really didn't. We were turning down stuff for years and just kind of quieting down, and when he decides that he wants to come back, that's when he'll come back, and when that will be, I have no idea or if he will at all."

The beloved fitness guru hasn't been seen by any of his friends or out in public since February 2014. His infamous workout studio closed in 2016 after 42 years in business.

"I am finally taking my own advice. I am being kind to myself, and putting myself first," he wrote on Facebook this past November. "I am making changes and taking time to do the things I want to do. Please know that I am in good health and I am happy. No one has ever been able to tell me what to do and the same is true today. I am still independent, determined and opinionated. I simply am making a new beginning for myself-quietly and in my very own special way."


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